It's not so terrible...

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross tells of noticing the positive afterglow in a London hospice after a black cleaning woman had passed through patients' rooms.

"'What are you doing with these dying patients?' I asked," Kubler-Ross writes in her book, Questions About Death and Dying. "She became very defensive and emphasized that she only cleaned the rooms."

After weeks of trying to get to know the woman, Kubler-Ross was finally able to speak freely with her. She learned that she had been raised in a ghetto and currently led a life of near-poverty. She had once sat in a hospital waiting for hours for a physician to see her three-year-old son. The boy died in the waiting room

"She ended her story with the following statement," Kubler-Ross writes, "You know, death is not a stranger to me any more. He's like an old acquaintance and I'm not afraid of him. Once in a while when I walk into the room of some of these dying patients they look so scared that I cannot help but walk over to them and touch them and say, "It's not so terrible."

Jesus speaks to us and says of death, "It's not so terrible."

And we as Christians minister comfort to the world simply by looking death and suffering steadfastly in the eye, touching those who suffer and telling them gently, "It's not so terrible."

It's not so terrible. For those who know Christ even death itself is an old and conquered acquaintance.

Tim and I learned from our mother and father that nothing is more comforting than a touch of friendship and a reassuring word that God's sovereignty, while immensely painful at moments, is the strong mountain of those who trust in Him.

Actions which comfort are good. Even better is that form of comfort which takes suffering in stride and confidently looks to God. Dad used to say that Job's comforters did a great job for the first week--as long as they merely sat at Job's side in silence, they were all he needed. It was only when they opened their mouths that they turned from comforters to tormenters.



Dear David:

If death is not so terrible, then how do we explain John 11?

It wasn't clear if the people she told that too were believers. For unbelievers, death will be terrible and it's dreadful to tell them otherwise. But I know that wasn't really the point of your post.

Reminds me somewhat of the attributed words of D. L. Moody on his deathbed:

"Earth recedes; Heaven opens before me. No, this is not a dream, Will." [To the attendant by his side.] "It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If it is death, it is sweet. There is no valley there. God is calling me and I must go."

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